Essential Information

Royal Observatory

09 Apr 2015

Entries for Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 close on 16 April and it looks like it's going to be another amazing year. If you want to get involved and need some last minute inspiration, we've been catching up with the winners of the 2014 competition. Today Julie Fletcher talks about her beautiful image 'Lost Souls'.

This was part of an ongoing project at Lake Eyre, South Australia. I get bored just shooting landscapes and a few back packers who were working for my partner at the time were keen to get out to this area. I thought it would be great to use them in a few shots. It is rare to see the Lake like this with a slick of water over it, as it is normally a dry salt lake.

EQUIPMENT I used a Nikon D800 with my 14-24mm lens, a tripod, Photoshop for post-processing and  StarSpikes software that was used to spike Venus.

TECHNIQUE It took a couple of tries. I had three of the girls standing still and the rest walking forward slowly towards the planet Venus to create the ghosting effect over a 20-second exposure. Due to the planet being so bright it created great backlighting and strong silhouettes.

TIPS Visit an area in daylight to plan your shots. Revisit at different times of the year. Have strong foreground interest, separate subjects from the dark background but don’t overuse lighting. The most important thing is just have fun.

TRAINING I did a diploma of commercial photography at Ultimo College, Sydney TAFE, finishing in 2004 but I never stop learning or challenging myself with new projects and creative ideas. Digital has allowed us to do so much more creative work without worrying about wasting film and the best part is you can see it immediately. See more of Julie's fantastic work on her website or Facebook page